GOING DEEPER … THE POWERFUL HELP OF YOUR GRACE

Continuing with Eugene’s 1837 retreat notes he turns most naturally towards God – the only direction that offers a way of serving God in his new position as Bishop of Marseille.  He writes:

Here we have the whole secret of this great affair.

 To maintain, try not to lose the grace which has been granted and communicated by the imposition of hands. To deepen, meditate, renew oneself and remain firm, watch over oneself; bring forth exteriorly the example of every virtue, there lies the only way of saving oneself and saving others when one is bishop.

 I give you thanks, O Lord, for having made shine forth this light from the sacred deposit of your Holy Scriptures. As you show me the way I should follow, and give me the desire to follow it, you will also give me the powerful help of your grace so I may tread it with a firm step, and with perseverance. I expect no less of your usual goodness, that mercy that my infidelities have never wearied and which inspires me even in this moment with so much trust. I shall without delay put out my hand to the work, for time is pressing. (185:XV in Oblate Writings)

I see in what he has written that his spirits are lifting and one senses that he is beginning to prepare within himself, while asking God to do that very preparation, preparing himself so that he may be able to move forward in loving service. 

How many times in my life has it been like this in my own life, where I have begun with my pain and weaknesses, given them to God, complained so that at least God would hear and then start to prepare myself.  Just as we begin each morning with breakfast to prepare our bodies for the coming day, so we prepare our minds and our hearts, our interior beings for what is to come.  That is part of my reason for coming here each day.  Eugene’s sharing of himself is like an invitation for me to look at myself, my own foibles and weaknesses, at what I might be holding onto and then recognizing as well the strengths that God has given to me with each day.  I am led, actually I am shepherded.  Here in North America there are not many who know what it is to both shepherd and be shepherded.  More than leading, there is the aspect of tender loving care, love which wraps the leading and the being led. There is a magnificent grace in it for sure.

Who shall shepherd me today?  And who shall I shepherd along my way?

I give you thanks, O Lord.  As you show me the way I should follow, and give me the desire to follow it, you will also give me the powerful help of your grace so I may walk it with a firm step, and with perseverance. I expect no less of your usual goodness, that mercy that my infidelities have never wearied and which inspires me even in this moment with so much trust. I shall without delay put out my hand to the work, for time is pressing.”

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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